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Sunday, June 29, 2008

30th Moscow International Film Festival Award Winners

Yesterday the fest had the closing ceremony and here are the awards winners.

Main Competition

Golden George for Best Film: Be hamin sadegi (As Simple as That), Reza Mir Karimi, Iran

Silver George Special Jury Prize: Un Coeur simple (The Simple Heart), Marion Laine, France
Silver George for Best Director: Javor Gardev for Zift, Bulgaria
Silver George for Best Actor: Richard Jenkins for The Visitor, Thomas McCarthy, USA, 2007
Silver George for Best Actress: Margherita Buy for Giorni e nuvole (Days and Clouds), Silvio Soldini, Italy and Switzerland

FIPRESCI Best Film: Odnazhdy v provintsii (Once Upon a Time in the Provinces), Katya Shagalova, Russia
Russian Film Critics Best Film: Be hamin sadegi (As Simple as That), Reza Mir Karimi, Iran
Audience Award for Best Film: For My Father, Dror Zahavi, Israel
Russian Film Clubs Federation Best Film: Zift, Javor Gardev, Bulgaria

Perspectives Program
Best Film: Cumbia Callera (Cumbia Connection), René Villareal, Mexico
Russian Film Critics Best Film: One Shot, Linda Wendel, Denmark

Russian Program
Russian Film Clubs Federation Best Film: Ne dumay pro belikh obezyan (Don't Think About the White Monkeys), Yury Mamin, Russia

Special Prize for Outstanding Contribution to World Cinema: Takeshi Kitano, Japan
Special Prize “I Believe. K. Stanislavsky” for Outstanding Achievement in the Acting Career and Devotion to the principles of K. Stanislavsky’s school: Isabelle Huppert, France

To check the awards at the fest site go here.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

30th Moscow International Film Festival

The festival will run from June 19 to 28 and the festival President is none other than Nikita Mikhalkov. Here are the films in the Main Competition.

Absurdistan, Veit Helmer, Germany and Azerbaijan, 2008
Amanecer de un Sueño (Awaking from a Dream), Freddy Mas Franqueza, Spain and Poland, 2008
Be Hamin Sadegi (As Simple As That), Reza Mir Karimi, Iran, 2008
Der Mond Und Andere Liebhaber (The Moon and Other Lovers), Bernd Boehlich, Germany, 2008
Duidande Zhangzheng (The War of the Shore), Li Xin, China, 2007
For My Father, Dror Zahavi, Israel, 2007
Giorni e Nuvole (Days and Clouds),. Silvio Soldini, Italy and Switzerland, 2007
Majdnem Szüz (Virtual Virgin), Péter Bacsó, Hungary, 2008
Mao Ce Dun (Mao Tse-tung), Besnik Bisha, Albania, 2007 (puzzling!)
Odnazhdy V Provintsii (Once Upon a Time in the Provinces), Katya Shagalova, Russia, 2008
Raiskiye Ptitsy (Birds of Paradaise), Roman Balayan, Ukraine, 2008
Sad (The Cherry Orchard), Serguey Ovcharov, Russia, 2008 (yes, screen version of Chekhov’s play)
Un Coeur Simple (The Simple Heart), Marion Laine, France, 2008 (based on Falubert… seems VERY interesting!)
Veđramót (A Quiet Storm), Guðny Halldórsdóttir, Iceland, 2007
The Visitor, Tom McCarthy, USA, 2007
Zift, Javor Gardev, Bulgaria, 2008 (a mixture of neo-noir and sots-art… have to see this!)

Opening Ceremony: Hancock, Peter Berg, USA, 2008
Closing Ceremony: Maradona By Kusturica, Emir Kusturica, Spain and France, 2006

In the Perspectives Program there are some interesting movies like the following.
Cumbia Callera (Cumbia Connection), Rene U. Villareal, Mexico, 2007
One Shot, Linda Wendel, Denmark, 2008 (yes is a one shot movie)
Nevando Voy (Under the Snow), Maitena Muruzabal and Candela Figueira, Spain and Argentina, 2007
Rerberg and Tarkovsky. Reverse side of Stalker, Igor Maiboroda, Russia, 2008 (a must be seen for me!)
Unrelated, Joanna Hogg, UK, 2007

In the Moscow Euphoria Program there is one movie that totally got my attention Las Meninas, Ihor Podolchak, Ukraine, 2008 look at the description: Las Meninas is not a film about a story; it is a film about senses. It resembles the scattered pieces of a puzzle and it is the task of the audience to put the pieces together. The almost magical visual part bears reminiscences of 17th century still lifes. The music and the sound added to it absorb the viewers and give them the feeling of being a part of this visual experience.

They are honoring great directors that passed away last year and recently and showing La Notte by Michelangelo Antonioni, Cries and Wispers by Ingmar Bergman, and Three Days of the Condor by Sydney Pollack. Also there are homages to Liv Ullman showing some of her movies where she acted and those that she directed; to Isabelle Hupert, to John Cassavettes, and to Takeshi Kitano. Then there are so many good old Soviet Union and newer Russian movies that just gave me the chills and wished I could revisit some and be able to watch many more that haven’t seen.

Also screening Sex: The Revolution, Harry Perry and Richard Lowe, USA, 2007 a documentary that I recently saw and I do highly recommend.

To check all the programs and information about all the films go here.

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Friday, October 31, 2008

23rd Mar Del Plata International Film Festival

The fest will run from November 6 to 16 at the famous beach resort in Argentina and since some of the movies in the fest are new to the blog, I’m listing the movies in the main competitions sections.

Inaugural Film: Aniceto, Leonardo Favio, Argentina, 2008
Opening Film: The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow, USA, 2008 (A war movie made by a female director… intriguing!)
Closing Film: Soom (Breath), Kim Ki-duk, Korea, 2007

International Competition

Alicia en el País, (Alice in the Land), Esteban Larraín, Chile, 2008
Skrapp út (Back Soon), Sólveig Anspach, Iceland and France, 2008 (seems interesting!)
Desierto Adentro (Deep into the Desert), Rodrigo Plá, Mexico, 2008
El Artista (The Artist), Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat, Argentina and Italy, 2008
El Cant Dels Ocells (Birdsong), Albert Serra, Spain, 2008
Den du frygter (Fear Me Not), Kristian Levring, Denmark
Home, Ursula Meier, Switzerland, Belgium and France, 2008
De Ofrivilliga (Involuntary), Ruben Östlund, Sweden, 2008
Medicine for Melancholy, Barry Jenkins, USA
Pa-ra-da, Marco Pontecorvo, Italy, France and Romania (must be seen!)
Aruitemo aruitemo (Still Walking), Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan, 2008 (more Ozu than ever!?)
Das Fremde in mir (The Stranger in Me), Emily Atef, Germany, 2008
Tokyo Sonata, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Japan, Netherlands, China, 2008
Un Coeur Simple (A Simple Heart), Marion Laine, France
Vil Romance (Vile Romance), José Campusano, Argentina, 2008 (gay interest)
Zift, Javor Gardev, Bulgaria, 2008

Latin American Competition

El Camino (The Path), Ishtar Yasin Gutiérrez, Costa Rica and France, 2007
Estrada Real da Cachaça (The Royal Road of Cachaca), Pedro Urano, Brazil, 2008
Frankfurt, Ramiro Gomez , Paraguay, 2008
Gallero, Sergio Massa, Argentina, 2008
Lake Tahoe, Fernando Eimbcke, México, 2008
Los Bastardos (The Bastards), Amat Escalante, Mexico, France and USA, 2008
Perro Come Perro (Dog Eat Dog), Carlos Moreno, Colombia, 2007
Regreso a Fortín Olmos (Back to Fortin Olmos), Jorge Goldenberg and Patricio Coll, Argentina, 2007
Salamandra (Salamander), Pablo Aguero, Argentina, France and Germany, 2008
Voy a Explotar (I’m Gonna Explode), Gerardo Naranjo, Mexico, 2008 (could be interesting)

Argentina Competition

Artico (Arctic), Santiago Loza
Dilatante (Dilettante), Kris Niklison (could be interesting)
Imagen Final (Final Image), Andres Habegger (intriguing)
La Asamblea (The Assembly) Gaiel Maidana
La Tigra, Chaco, Federico Godfrid and Juan Sasiaín
Las Hermanas L (The Sisters), Eva Bär, Santiago Giralt, Alejandro Montiel and Diego Schipani (Kitsh cinema??)
Los Pernoctantes (Night Oversleepers), Hernán Khourian, Deigo Carabelli, Angeles Casares and Sebastián Martinez
Música Para Astronautas (Music for Astronauts), Ernesto Baca
Parador Retiro (Retiro Shelter), Jorge Leandro Colas

In the Argentina Competition some are documentaries. To check information about the above films and other films in the many sections go here and press the sections link.

Festival director Jose A. Martinez Suarez says, “We want to offer an ice-cream parlor for all tastes, not just vanilla, chocolate and strawberry” and well, it is absolutely true as this fest has many very interesting films in competition and in the multiple sections. Lucky those that live in near Buenos Aires, as they will really have a cornucopia full of diverse movies from allover the world!

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

5th Reykjavik International Film Festival

This is truly a festival full of activities beyond cinema with an interesting program that include the following movies in the New Vision section.

Afterschool, Antonio Campos, USA, 2008
A Zona (Uprising), Sandro Agular, Portugal, 2008
El Cant Dels Ocells (Birdsong), Albert Serra, Spain, 2008
Fekete fehér (Without Mercy), Elemér Ragályi, Hungary, 2008
Home, Ursula Meier, Switzerland, France and Belgium, 2008
Istoria 52 (Tale 52), Alexis Alexlou, Greece, 2008
Le Jour Avant le Lendemain (Before Tomorrow), Marie-Heléne Cousineau and Madeline Ivalu, Canada, 2008
Lønsj (Cold Lunch), Eva Sørhaug, Norway, 2008
Otryv (Soar),Alexander Mindadze, Russia, 2007
Slepe lásky (Blind Loves), Juraj Lehotsky, Slovakia, 2008
Snijeg (Snow), Aida Begic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany and France, 2008
Tulpan, Sergey Dvortsevoy, Kazakhstan and Russia, 2008
Valu (The Wild Bull), Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni, India, 2008
Zift, Javor Gardev, Bulgaria, 2008

If you have access to this fest besides the very good mainstream movies they will show in several programs, I recommend you do not miss the screening of the following movies that I'm so looking forward to be able to see.

Il y a longtemps que je t´aime, Philippe Claudel, France, 2008
Piao Lang Qing Chun (Drifting Flowers), Zero Chou, Taiwan, 2008
Dos Miradas (Two Looks), Sergio Candel, Spain, 2007
Leonera (Lion’s Den), Pablo Trapero, Argentina, 2008

If you want to check the complete program go here.

The fest will honor the following recipients.
Creative Excellency Award: Artist (photography & video) Shirin Neshat, Iran
Lifetime Achievement Award: Director Costa-Gravras

To browse the fest site please go here. The fest runs from tomorrow to October 5th.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

News about 63rd Festival de Cannes

Too early for Cannes 2010? Not really as this year will run from May 12 to 23 and as of today the first massive press release hit the waves. The news? Ridley Scott's Robin Hood will open Cannes. Starring none other than Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett the epic surely blockbuster becomes another Hollywood film to open the fest, which does not happen that often. Thankfully the film will be screened out of competition. If you feel like reading the film synopsis and watch a video go here and the trailer is at the front page of the official Cannes fest website. By-the-way, the film will be released in the USA and UK on May 14, so Cannes is the official premiere.

This year the President of the jury is none other than Tim Burton and according to Peter Bradshaw from The Guardian he's the perfect Cannes president. Here is an excerpt from his article and full article is here.

"In a way, Burton is the perfect Cannes president. He looks like every American's view of a Euro-intellectual (dishevelled, black shades), is but also a very ­Europeanised Hollywood film director, with his intensively designed and sepulchrally atmospheric Goth-type pictures, in which Depp is a regular performer. His next film, Alice In Wonderland, starring Depp as the Mad Hatter and out in two months, will underline his reputation as a film-maker with a very personal style."

Very interesting is the list with the selected 15 projects from 15 countries in the sixth edition of L'Atelier 2010, check it out.

The Ardor, Pablo Fendrik, Argentina - 3rd feature film
Zincograph, Javor Gardev, Bulgaria - 2nd feature film
Gibier d'élevage, Rithy Panh, Cambodia and France - 10th feature film
Dream and Silence, Jaime Rosales,Spain - 4th feature film
Shanghai - Belleville, Show-Chun Lee, France - 1st feature film
Liza, the Fox-Fairy, Károly Ujj Mészáros,Hungary - 1st feature film
Postcards from the zoo, Edwin, Indonesia - 2nd feature film
Khorramshahr, Massoud Bakhshi,Iran - 1st feature film
Decadent Sisters, Shinji Aoyama,Japan - 15th feature film
Les Etoiles de Sidi Moumen, Nabil Ayouch, Morocco - 5th feature film
La Jaula de Oro, Diego Quemada-Diez, Mexico - 1st feature film
Code Blue, Urszula Antoniak, Netherlands - 2nd feature film
Circles, Srdan Golubovic, Serbia - 3rd feature film
Come to my voice, Hüseyin Karabey,Turkey - 2nd feature film
Lucia, Ruben Sierra Salles, Venezuela - 1st feature film

The Livre des Projects will be available from April 15th on the Cinefondation website, so I'll be checking the projects.

April will be when the fest news will start to come and I can hardly believe that the year went by so fast, as very soon Movie On will become all about Cannes 2010 as usually happens with the "Mother of all Festivals".

Last, for the first time here,le Marché du Film poster included to light up the post.


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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

9th Weisbaden Festival of Central and Eastern European Film Award Winners

The fest is better known as goEast, for the support given to young filmmakers and this year showcased many films that you can check here. Yesterday they had their award ceremony and here are the winners.

Golden Lily for Best Film: Gagma Napiri (The Other Bank), George Ovashvili, Georgia and Kazakhstan, 2009
A courageous depiction, from the optimistic perspective of a child, of an ongoing conflict that is among the gravest of our times in terms of weapons levels.

Best Director: Boris Khlebnikove for SUMASŠEDŠAJA POMOŠČ ( Help Gone Mad), Russia, 2009
A bold approach to his subject as well as his unusual and touching allegory on post-communist society

German Federal Foreign Office Prize: Morphija (Morphia), Aleksei Balabanov, Russia, 2008
A highly unusual depiction of Russia in the early days of the Revolution and of the tragic end to the life of a human individual

Honorable Mentions
Actress: Andreea Bosneaag in Cea Mai Fericta Fata Din Lume (The Happiest Girl in the World), Radu Jude, Romania and Netherlands, 2009
First Film: Javor Gardev for Zift, Bulgaria, 2008

FIPRESCI Award: Gagma Napiri (The Other Bank), George Ovashvili, Georgia and Kazakhstan, 2009

To check the winners in all categories go here.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

24th Santa Barbara International Film Festival

From January 22nd to February 1st the fest will run in California screening many movies in the main categories and sidebars. The official site and the Independent site are not really user friendly, so you have to browse a lot to learn about the films in competition and/or in each category.

These are the Main Categories and Sidebars.

Main Categories
Independent Features
International Features
Documentary Features
Special Presentation Films

EASTERN BLOC featuring films from Eastern Europe
REEL NATURE, the nature films series programmed by renowned nature cinematographer and Santa Barbara resident Mike DeGruy, sponsored by City of Lompoc.
EAST X WEST, a collection of the best cinema from Asia, programmed by Emmy nominated actor and director Tim Matheson
TO THE MAXXX, sponsored by Horny Toad and Firestone Walker Fine Ales & Red Nectar, is programmed by Santa Barbara filmmaker Russ Spencer and features extreme sports films and documentaries including the U.S. Premiere of Joel Conroy’s “Waveriders,” the story of Ireland’s connection to surfing from its reinvention in Hawaii in the early 1900s to the rapid growth of big wave surfing in Ireland today and includes appearances by such surfing icons as Chris, Keith and Dan Malloy, Kelly Slater and Rabbit Kekai, to name just a few.
LATINO CINEMEDIA, sponsored by Tinta Latina Magazine and Univision, offers a collection of films from Spain and Latin America, continuing SBIFF’s commitment to Spanish and Latin American films, programmed by UCSB professor Cristina Venegas;
SANTA BARBARA FILMMAKERS, sponsored by CASA Magazine, programmed by Russ Spencer and which includes 7 World Premiere feature films.

Opening Night: Nothing But The Truth, Rod Lurie, USA
Closing Night: Lightbulb, Jeff Balsmeyer, USA

Independent Features Competition
Apron Strings, Sima Urale, New Zealand
Dim Sum Funeral, Anna Chi, Canada
Follow The Prophet, Drew Ann Rosenberg, USA
Ink, Jamin Winans, USA
Poppy Shakespeare, Benjamin Ross, UK
Skin, Anthony Fabian, South Africa and UK
Sweet Thing, Joe Lia, USA

International Features Competition
A Woman in Berlin, Max Farberbock, Germany and Poland
Kabuli Kid, Barmak Akram, France and Afghanistan
Landscape No. 2, Vinko Moderndorfer, Slovenia
Lost Islands, Reshef Levy, Israel
Tandoori Love, Oliver Paulus, Switzerland (seems interesting)
Carlston za Ognjeka (Tears for Sale), Uros Stojanovic, Serbia
Venkovský ucitel (The Country Teacher), Bohdan Slama, Czech Republic (Gay interest)
Domovoy (The Ghost), Karen Oganesyan, Russia
Mammen som elsket Yngve (The Man Who Loved Yngve), Stian Kristiansen, Norway (Gay Interest)
The Racketeer, Akhan Satayev, Kazakhastan
Tiramisu, Paula Van Der Oest, Netherlands
Treeless Mountain, So Yong Kim, USA and South Korea
Zift, Javor Gardev, Bulgaria

As noted in the official press release both lists are subject to change. To check the site with information and links to read about each film go here.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

28th International Istanbul Film Festival Award Winners

From April 4 to 19 the fest will run in Turkey and here are the films in the International Competition.

Rumba, Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon and Bruno Romy, France and Belgium, 2008 (I’ll try to see it)
An extremely stylized, unusual, colorful, joyful, at the same time funny and melancholic invitation to dance; a Tatiesque film with minimal dialogue that captures the spirit of the burlesque actors of the silent era. Played by the directors themselves, the main characters Fiona and Dom are teachers in the idyllic countryside. They are in love with each other as they are with Latin dancing. They even have lots of trophies that they won. One night, as they are returning from a competition, they try to avoid a failed suicide victim in the middle of the road. Their car hits a wall and their life is turned upside down.

L’Heure d’Ete (Summer Hours), Olivier Assayas, France, 2008

Le Plasir de Chanter (The Joy of Singing), Ilan Duran Cohen, France, 2008
What could bring a bigger joy than singing? The characters of this mystery crime drama are all in search of the ultimate joy, and they all take singing lessons from the same tutor, Eve… One of Eve's students is the naïve Constance, a recent widow whose husband is brutally murdered by people after a uranium secret. Among Eve's students also are Muriel and Philippe from the French intelligence, the handsome Julien who is into both guys and girls, and Eve's son. Who is genuine with their emotions, and who is undercover? The director of The Confusion of Genders weaves a delectable web of dark comedy, sex secrets, a USB stick, the joy of singing, and perhaps love.

A Film With Me In It, Ian Fitzgibbon, Ireland, 2008
"A blacker-than-black comedy with a wickedly sharp sense of humour," according to Todd Brown at Twitch, A Film With Me In It tells the morbidly delightful account of a hapless actor named Mark (Mark Doherty, also the film's screenwriter) who is struggling to make it through a day from hell, and his neighbour and best friend Pearce, a penniless, clueless, aspiring screenwriter. Mark gets home to his disabled brother (his real life brother David), unhappy girlfriend and big dog after failing an audition to discover that they haven't paid the rent for three months. Even when his girlfriend leaves him, tragedy has not hit yet, the dreadful (deadful) day has just begun. Winner of Special Jury Prize.

Zift, Javor Gardev, Bulgaria, 2008 (yeah, “dying” to see it… if only I could understand Bulgarian and Turkish)
Bulgaria's Oscar submission, and taking its name from the Bulgarian slang for the word "shit", Zift is a crime film made in the spirit of film noir, though focusing on a criminal instead of a private detective battling criminals. The Moth is released from prison after 20 years to find himself in a new and alien world: the cold atmosphere of communist Sofia of the 60s. During the one day the film unfolds, Moth tries to make amends with his past, but is tortured, chased and forced to listen to many strange stories by agents, medics, barflies, outcasts, gravediggers…

Disgrace, Steve Jacobs, Australia and South Africa, 2008
Adapted from Nobel-prize winner J.M. Coetzee's 1999 novel that presents an unflinching look at the consequences of the intense change South Africa goes through, Disgrace is the story of a South African university professor who loses everything, his reputation, his job, his peace of mind, dreams and even his daughter's well-being and safety. Professor David Lurie's life falls apart after he has an affair with one of her students, and thus has to resign from Cape Town University. He escapes to his daughter's farm where he finds some peace, but it's a dangerous world and soon they are victims of a vicious attack. With John Malkovich… hmm…

Milk, Semih Kaplanoğlu, Turkey, France and Germany, 2008 (A Must Be Seen for me)
Vying for the Golden Lion at Venice in August 2008, Milk is the second instalment of Kaplanoğlu's "Yusuf trilogy" that started with Yumurta (Egg) which won the Golden Tulip at Istanbul Film Festival in 2008, and that will be completed with Honey. Recent high school graduate Yusuf is passionate about writing poetry, and some of his poems are published in some obscure literary journals. But for the time being, he continues working in his mother Zehra's countryside milk business, also with an uncertain future. When Yusuf learns about his mother's discreet affair with the town station master, he gets even more anxious about making the sudden jump toward manhood. Will young Yusuf be able to handle the changes in his peaceful existence? Winner of the FIPRESCI Award and the Audience Award.

Poltory Komnaty Ili Sentimentalnoe Puteshestvie Na Rodinu (Room and a Half), Andrey Khrzhanovsky, Russia, 2009 (Another Russian Andrei director, hmm…)
A unique assembly: the early life of great Russian poet, Nobel laureate Joseph Brodsky told by great filmmaker, animator and documentarist Andrei Khrzhanovsky. "A magical, wildly creative fantasia," according to Variety, the film premiered at Rotterdam Film Festival in January and welds fiction, archival footage, animation and stills. Brodsky was exiled from Russia to the USA in 1972, never visiting his motherland again. Khrzhanovsky imagines Brodsky returning home, anonymously, and we return to the USSR of the 50s and early 60s, soaking up the atmosphere of the "European" city of St. Petersburg.

Tony Manero , Pablo Larrain, Chile and Brazil, 2008 Winner of the Golden Tulip.

Forasters (Foreigners), Ventura Pons, Spain, 2008 (could be...)
The most acclaimed Catalan filmmaker Ventura Pons' latest work is his third adaptation from Sergi Belbel's plays, the first two being his debut Caresses and To Die (or Not). Foreigners tells the story of a family that goes through two traumatic events: the loss of a family member, and forty years later, the arrival of new neighbours. Two events that disrupt the family's alleged harmony, their social setting, their fragile family ties… This is the passage of time, the meaning of existence, the fear and distrust of the unknown, the outsider, the foreigner… The foreigners are ourselves.

De Usynlige (Troubled Water), Erik Poppe, Norway and Sweden, 2008
2008 Haugesund (Norway) Honourable Mention; Prize of the Ecumenical Jury and 2008 Hamptons Audience Award; The Golden Starfish-Best Narrative Feature
The director of Hawaii, Oslo and Schpaa returns four years later with another impressive drama about morality and forgiveness. Jan Thomas is released from prison after having served eight years. Being a divinely gifted organist, he gets a deputyship in a church. He decides not to tell her about his past to Anna, the priest, but then Agnes comes to the church. She recognizes the organist as the young boy who was convicted of the murder of her son.

$9.99, Tatia Rosenthal, Israel and Australia, 2008 (yeah, “dying” to see it)
"Have you ever wondered what is the meaning of life? Why do we exist? The answers are in this small yet amazing booklet! And for a mere $9.99!" This is the ad that alters the life of the unemployed Dave who still lives with his father. When his questions are answered, he wants to share everything he knows, so his surreal path crosses with his unusual neighbours: an old man and his disgruntled guardian angel, a magician in debt, a little boy who sets his piggy bank free… This superb comedy about the post-modern meaning of life and happiness is a stop-motion animation film based on the short stories of Etgar Keret, who had co-directed Jellyfish in 2007

Athina-Konstadinoupoli (Athens-Istanbul), Nikos Panayotopoulos, Greece, 2008
This is a road movie that starts in a traffic jam and as its title suggests, it begins in Athens, ending in İstanbul, following a depressed lawyer, who, after his recent divorce, sets off a journey in his car to visit his sick father in Thessaloniki, but ends up, after many stops and detours in İstanbul. His trip is more of a runaway along which he meets a young wandering lady, realises his middle-age crisis, questioning life, death, sex, money and identity. "There's no border in the other world because you don't need borders when you can't move!"

Out of Competition

Easy Virtue , Stephan Elliot, UK, 2008
Appaloosa, Ed Harris, USA, 2008 (could be…but it’s a western!)
Ed Harris, the co-writer, producer and director of this traditionalist western with contemporary references, also stars alongside Viggo Mortensen as the freelance lawman Marshall Virgil Cole who is hired with his deputy Everett Hitch to defend the lawless western town of Appaloosa from the murderous evil rancher Randall and his gang. Virgil and Everett have been friends for many years, and they have been through a lot together. But their efforts are disrupted and friendship tested by the arrival of a refined woman from the city: "a widow, not a whore", who is there to play the piano. A standoff is inevitable between the rancher and the lawmen.

Opening film: Welcome, Philippe Lioret, France, 2009
A modern age Romeo-Juliet story with the English Channel between the lovers, who are both played by Turkish actors. Bilal, a Kurdish boy from Mosul, has travelled for three months to join his girlfriend, Mina in London. But he is stopped on the French side of the Channel. Having decided to swim across, Bilal goes to the local swimming pool to train where he meets Simon, a swimming instructor. To impress his wife, Simon decides to risk everything by taking Bilal under his wing.

Closing film: Okuribito (Departures), Yojiro Takita, Japan, 2008 (Obviously totally “dying” to watch it…)
2009 Oscar Best Foreign Language Film; 2009 Palm Spring Audience Award; 2009 Japan Academy Best Film; Best Director; Best Actor; Best Supporting Actor; Best Supporting Actress; Best Cinematography; Best Editing; 2008 Montréal Grand Prix
Oscar Winner for Best Foreign Language Film, Departures also won Best Film accolades at Palm Springs and Montréal. A delightful and sensitive journey into the heartland of Japan and an astonishingly beautiful look at a sacred part of Japan's cultural heritage, the film follows cellist Daigo who moves back into his hometown after his symphony orchestra disbands. He reluctantly accepts a very traditional job with Sasaki at "Departures": encoffination of corpses. His life now takes an unexpected turn as he profoundly follows tradition as a husband, as a human being and as a "coffiner".

I suggest checking the films in the Turkish Cinema 2008 National Competition as there are many (too many!!!) that definitively could be must be seen. Also check the films in the Human Rights in Cinema competition with great films. To browse the fest site go here.

This is definitively one very interesting fest with excellent movies!!! To check all the winners including those in the National Competition go here.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Дзифт Zift

Incredibly good movie from first time Bulgarian director Javor Gardev that definitively is not for all audiences as has a style that is totally art with many beautiful to watch scenes even when what’s happening may not be beautiful at all. This black and white film is truly visually outstanding with fantastic compositions, excellent framing, great attention to details and a camera that moves objectively and subjectively into mostly disgusting to watch situations, but honestly all become beautiful to watch if you really appreciate great cinema.

The story has been told many times, but never like this. Is about a heist that goes wrong and Moth ends up in jail accused of a murder he didn’t committed and he is covering the real killer. He does it for love of Ada (aka Mantis) as he wants her to be well kept, as she’s pregnant. Everything happens before the communist takeover of Bulgaria. Released in the ‘60’s for good behavior, Moth only finds that freedom sometimes is worst than prison when you have unsolved situations. Well, that’s the story if the filmmaker had chosen to tell it chronologically; but luckily for us viewers, he intertwines time as he pleases telling Moth story in the most interesting way you can imagine or perhaps not. You really have to see this movie for the non-linear storytelling technique.

Then the story is peppered with little tales, most really hilarious and a few really gross, that interrupt the storytelling only to make it a true roller coaster. Moth voice narrates some parts and is truly remarkable, as what he narrates most of the time has no relation to what is or will happen, but it’s relevant for the story line. You really have to hear/see this.

Also some of the images and a few secondary characters are really Fellinesque – alike to some early Fellini films- and once in a while some very Antonioni scenes will appear; some are comparing images and narrative style to Tarantino, but not me and I definitively do not agree with them. The style feels and looks more European noir with touches of neorealism as for me the entire movie and story is an oblique metaphor to what happened in Bulgaria during and after the dark decades. You really have to see the oblique magic realism of this film. By the way Zift is a name derived from the Arabic zift or dzift, meaning “bitumen” or “black pitch” once a popular chewing substance among the poor in Bulgaria; the word is also claimed to be a slang reference to shit. And believe me you will literally see a lot of the last word, shit, in the film; so if you decide to give it a try, I suggest to prepare yourself before watching.

This film really blew my mind in many levels and it was about time, as lately I haven’t been lucky finding great movies. For sure I’ll follow this director that won several awards including the Best Bulgarian Feature Film at 2009 Sofia fest, Silver Saint George for Best Director at 2008 Moscow fest, was Bulgaria submission to the 2009 Academy Awards and others that you can find if you browse the blog.

I have been patiently waiting for the opportunity to watch this film and the wait was truly worth it, as definitively this is an unforgettable and remarkable film even when I know that can be gross (or too strange) for many, but the style is so great that you don’t really mind what’s shown on the screen. When was over I wanted more, as I was totally mesmerized. Obviously is not for all audiences and I strongly recommend it for those that enjoy great visual and cinematic experiences with fabulous storytelling. Ah! mainly for those who enjoy art, art house and serious cinema (all combined in one film!).

Big Enjoy!!!

Watch trailer @ Movie On Companion

Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Javor Gardev. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Javor Gardev. Sort by date Show all posts

Saturday, October 18, 2008

2009 Oscar Foreign Language Film Submissions - Final

Yesterday the Academy announced the official list of submissions for the Best Foreign Language Film and here they are. Worth to mention is that this year there are a record 67 countries with submissions.

Afghanistan: The Opium War, Siddiq Barmak
Albania: Trishtimi i zonjës Shnajder (The Sorrow of Mrs. Schneider), Eno Milkani and Piro Milkani
Algeria: Mascarades, Lyes Salem
Argentina: Leonera (Lion’s Den), Pablo Trapero
Austria: Revanche, Götz Spielmann, Austria
Azerbaijan: Fortress, Shamil Nacafzade
Bangladesh: Aha!, Enamul Karim Nirjhar, Bangladesh
Belgium: Eldorado, Bouli Lanners, Belgium and France
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Snijeg (Snow), Aida Begić
Brazil: Última Parada 174 (Last Stop 174), Bruno Barreto, Brazil
Bulgaria: Дзифт Zift, Javor Gardev, Bulgaria (a must be seen for me, because tech specs)
Canada: Ce qu'il faut pour vivre (The Necessities of Life), Benoît Pilon, Canada
Chile: Tony Manero, Pablo Larraín
China: Dream Weavers, Yu Gun (documentary)
Colombia: Perro Come Perro (Dog Eat Dog), Carlos Moreno, Colombia
Croatia: Niciji Sin (No One’s Son), Arsen Anton Ostojic, Croatia and Slovenia
Czech Republic: Karamazovi (The Karamazovs), Petr Zelenka (didn't like the movie, couldn't watch it all)
Denmark: To Verdener (Worlds Apart), Niels Arden Oplev, Denmark
Egypt: The Island, Sherif Arafa
Estonia: Mina olin siin. Esimene arest (I Was Here), René Vilbre
Finland: Tummien Perhosten Koti (Home of Dark Butterfiles), Dome Karukoski, Finland
France: Entre les Murs (The Class), Laurent Cantet, France
Georgia: Mediator, Dito Tsintsadze
Germany: Der Baader Meinhof Komplex (The Baader Meinhof Complex), Uli Edel, Germany
Greece: Correction, Thanos Anastopoulos
Hong Kong: Hua Pi aka Wa Pei (Painted Skin), Donnie Yen
Hungary: Iszka Utazása (Iska’s Journey), Csaba Bollok, Hungary
Iceland: Brúðguminn (White Night Wedding), Baltasar Kormkur’s, Iceland
India: Taare Zameen Par, Aamir Khan, India
Iran: The Song of Sparrows, Ari Foman
Israel: Waltz With Bashir, Ari Folman, Israel, Germany and France (also eligible for animated feature)
Italy: Gomorra (Gomorrah), Matteo Garone, Italy
Japan: Okuribito (Departures), Yojiro Takita, Japan
Jordan: Captain Abu Raed, amin Matalqa, Jordan
Kazakhstan: Tulpan, Sergei Dvortsevoy
Korea: Crossing, Tae-kyun Kim
Kyrgyztan: Тенгри (Heavens Blue), Marie-Jaoul de Ponchville
Latvia: Rīgas sargi (Defenders of Riga), Aigars Grauba
Lebanon: Sous Les Bombes (Under the Bombs), Philippe Aractingi
Lithuania: Nereikalingi žmonės (Loss), Maris Marinsons
Luxembourg: Nuits d’Arabie, Paul Kieffer
Macedonia: I Am From Titov Veles, Teona Strugar-Mitesvska
Mexico: Arrancame La Vida (Tear This Heart Out), Roberto Sneider
Morocco: Adieu Mères (Goodbye Mothers), Mohamed Ismail
Netherlands: Dunya & Desie, Dana Nechustan, Netherlands
Norway: O’Horten, Bent Hamer, Norway, Germany and France
Palestine: Salt of This Sea, Annemarie Jacir
Philippines: Ploning, Dante Nico Garcia, Philippines
Poland: Sztuczki (Tricks), Andrzej Jakimowski, Poland
Portugal: Aquele Querido Mês de Agosto (Our Beloved Month of August), Miguel Gomes
Romania: Restul e Tacere (The Rest is Silence), Nae Caranfil, Romania
Russia: Русалка (Mermaid), Anna Melikyan
Serbia: Turneja (The Tour), Goran Markovic
Singapore: My Magic, Eric Khoo, Singapore
Slovakia: Slepé lásky (Blind Loves), Juraja Lehostkeho
Slovenia: Petelinji Zajtrk (Rooster’s Breakfast), Marko Nabersnik
South Africa: Jerusalema, Ralph Ziman
Spain: Los Girasoles Ciegos (The Blind Sunflowers), José Luis Cuerda
Sweden: Maria Larssons eviga ögonblick (Everlasting Moments), Jan Troell, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Germany and Sweden
Switzerland: Der Freund (The Friend), Micha Lewinsky
Taiwan: Cape No. 7, Wei Te-sheng, Taiwan
Thailand: Love of Siam, Chookiat Sakveerakul
Turkey: Üç Maymun (3 Monkeys), Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Ukraine: Illusion of Fear, Aleksandr Kirienko
UK: Hope Eternal, Karl Francis
Uruguay: Matar a Todos (Kill Them All), Esteban Schoeder
Venezuela: El Tinte de la Fama (The Color of Fame), Alejandro Bellame

To check the official press release go here.

Nominations for the 81st Academy Awards will be announced on Thursday, January 22, 2009, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2008 will be presented on Sunday, February 22, 2009, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network.

There are many films here that are must be seen for me and I just hope to see them as soon as possible. We will have to wait until January 2009 to find out if the new selection rules work and the category nominates interesting and worthy movies.

Here is a better description of the new rules.

Under new rules, the committee -- which tends to consist of older, often retired members who have more time on their hands -- will only pick six of the nine finalists. The academy's foreign-film executive committee, headed by Mark Johnson and including Oscar-winning filmmakers such as Curtis Hanson, will choose the remaining three. Then, as in the last two years, a bicoastal committee of academy members (about 30 specially selected members) will view the nine finalists and whittle them down to the five that will be announced Jan. 22 as nominees for best foreign-language film of the year.

I imagine that eventually we will be able to learn the names of the nine (9) films and I'll post them as soon as they become available from a reliable source.

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